Major League Baseball announced a new rule to take provisional effect for the 2014 season involving home-plate collisions between a catcher and a potential baserunner attempting to score.
The rule doesn't completely eliminate home-plate colliisions, but will make them much less likely as long as the ball and the runner don't arrive at home plate pretty much simultaneously. The rule is written to protect both the catcher and the runner and is written as follows:
The catcher: “A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).”
The runner: “Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.”
New Rangers catcher J.P. Arencibia said he supports the rule. Arencibia is set to be Geovany Soto's backup behind the plate. According to The Dallas Morning News, Arencibia was one of the catchers to have input with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark on forming the rule.
“I think it takes away the collision with any malicious intent,” Arencibia told The Dallas Morning News. “When you give [the runner] a piece of the plate, he has got to take the appropriate action on his side. I think this speaks pretty clearly, and we will be able to understand it pretty well.”